• Published Date: 15 May 2020

    HDB's Reply


    Active efforts to help public rental tenants purchase their own HDB flats
    Date: 15 May 2020


    We thank Mr Kevin Tan for his feedback (Speed up home-ownership process for those living in rental flats, May 1).

    The Housing Board is committed to helping Singaporeans own a home, including those from low-income households who live in public rental flats.

    There are ongoing efforts by officers from HDB branches across Singapore to regularly meet rental tenants and engage those who are ready to apply for an HDB flat.

    In the past five years, about 5,000 of these public rental tenants purchased flats with the help of various HDB housing schemes and grants.

    We also recognise that some of these tenants are unable to navigate the process of buying a flat on their own, and it is for this reason that the HDB set up the Home Ownership Support Team (HST) last year, which provides more structured support to this group. The HST guides these tenants through their home ownership journey, including working out their housing budget and options, and navigating the processes involved from application to key collection.

    The HST also works closely with the social service agencies to provide better support for families who need to resolve other issues before committing to a flat purchase.

    The HST does not work in isolation.

    It is part of the HDB's and the Government's broader efforts to support rental households and help them in their journey towards home ownership.

    As buying a flat is a long-term financial commitment, flat buyers are encouraged to purchase a flat only when they are financially ready to do so. Various Central Provident Fund (CPF) housing grants are available to first-time flat buyers.

    Other schemes such as the Fresh Start Housing Scheme and the Enhanced Step-Up CPF Housing Grant cater to public rental households who are second-time buyers.

    Public rental households also get higher chances of a successful flat application through the Tenants' Priority Scheme.


    Foo-Ho Yoke Ming (Mrs)
    Director (Rental Housing)

    Housing & Development Board



    Letter to The Straits Times


    Speed up home-ownership process for those living in rental flats
    Date: 1 May 2020

    From: Kevin Tan


    While it is commendable that the Housing Board has come up with an initiative to help needy families get their own homes, there are some areas that need to be addressed (HDB team guides rental flat families in buying their own homes, Jan 24).

    Can the seven-member Home Ownership Support Team (HST) be expanded so that more households living in public rental flats - which number around 50,000 - can get guidance to buy their own flats earlier and the process can be sped up? There is only so much that the current team can do, given its small size.

    At the rate that the HST aims to conduct its outreach - 1,000 rental households over the next few years - it will likely be a long wait for many such families to have a home of their own.

    Can the HDB provide details of the locations of the households that have been or are being given help?

    Among the 49,000 households that will need to wait longer to receive help, there are those who may want to own their own homes soon.

    Would the HDB consider opening up an office for keen households to visit the officers and indicate their interest, as an alternative to the officers going to their homes, which may take some time? Opening up such an option can shorten the waiting time.

    Also, can the HDB provide details of how it plans to reach out to households - such as a timeline and a schedule of the places it intends to visit?

    Can more grants be given to these rental households so that they can own their flat first, regardless of their financial health, and then work towards paying for their flat later on?

    The priority should be to secure home ownership first.

    This would be a better way to help the lower-income population, as we work towards being a better and more inclusive country, where everyone is supported.